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The A&E Double Flight Cage – How Much Room Does a Finch Need – Part 2

In Part I of this article I introduced our largest finch cage and discussed some of the reasons that aviculturists should strive to provide even the smallest of birds with as much space as possible. To continue, another nice aspect of the room provided by the 5’ x 2’ x 5’ Double Flight Cage is that hanging live or artificial plants can be used to provide sight barriers and security to nervous birds. This will vastly improve their quality of life and may pave the way for captive reproduction.

A Complex Environment and Foraging Opportunities

The additional space provided by this cage also allows you to easily provide a stimulating captive environment for your pets. A variety of vine-style perches and toys can be used in this regard.

The provision of challenging and somewhat “natural” foraging opportunities is also important in keeping birds active and healthy. Installing sprout pots, hiding fruits and scattering small mealworms, crickets and other insects about a large cage are all time-tested techniques that will keep your birds alert and eager to explore their surroundings.

Further Reading

Just as many folks seem to believe that finches can get by in cramped quarters due to their diminutive size (please see Part I of this article for further discussion), so too it is sometimes assumed that only parrots have any use for toys. Please see my article Finches use “Parrot Toys” Too! for an alternative view.


Image referenced from Wikipedia and originally posted by William Kreijkes.

The A&E Double Flight Cage: How Much Room Does a Finch Need? Part I

BullfinchIt seems to me that finches are often “short-changed” when it comes to cage space. Their small size, especially when compared to other pet birds, seems to pre-dispose hobbyists to providing equally tiny living quarters. But the facts that a bird “fits” in a cage, and can move about somewhat, does not necessarily mean that we are providing it with an ideal environment.

Cage Size…an Alternative View

Rather than using your pet’s size as a factor in cage choice, I propose instead that you carefully consider its habits and natural history. For example, finches do not climb about as do parrots, and hence cages offer to them much less “useable space”. Whereas a parrot might clamber over every inch of its home – roof included – finches use mainly flying and ground space.

Also, finches explore and will utilize toys, but not to the extent seen in most parrots. They spend more time foraging and otherwise moving about, and hence have little to “occupy themselves” in a small cage… space therefore is key to their well-being.

finchThen too, many finches tend to be high strung, and are ill at ease when closely confined. It is very hard to hand-tame finches, or to induce breeding in tight quarters. As most finches are not given outside flight time, cage size and complexity are important factors in their husbandry.

A Finch Mansion

At just over 5 feet x 2 feet x 5 feet, the A&E Double Flight Bird Cage is the ultimate in luxury housing for finches. Available in 6 colors, it can also be divided to allow for introductions or when separate facilities are otherwise needed.

The .5 inch bar spacing renders this cage ideal for even the smallest of finches, but its design also permits the accommodation of cockatiels, parrotlets, lovebirds and parakeets.

Large Finches and Mixed Species Groups

The Double Flight Cage is an excellent choice for those seeking to provide finches of any kind with additional room, and is perfect for housing larger species such as Gouldian finches, bull finches and Java rice birds.

You can also use this cage to create a striking mixed-species display for compatible birds such as cordon bleus, golden-breasts and painted finches.

Nesting and Breeding

Additional space always improves ones chances of breeding captive birds. Ample room is particularly important for shy finches, and for those that become lethargic in small cages and reproduce most reliably in group situations (i.e. yellow-rumped and gray-headed munias).

For many of the more sensitive finches, a large flight cage is the only reasonable alternative to an outdoor aviary if breeding efforts are to be successful.

The Double Flight Cage is equipped with 2 doors that allow for the installation of nest boxes. Nesting sites so situated are outside of the cage and therefore will not restrict available flight space.

My most memorable observations of captive finches have taken place before large cages and outdoor aviaries. If you are serious about your birds, please consider providing them with as much space as possible.


Further Reading

Working with mixed species collections is a favorite pastime of mine, and one that hooks most who give it a try. Click here for more information concerning finch species that forage together in the wild.

Image referenced from wikipedia and originally posted by Jason L. Buberel.

Bird Cage Overview…Time to Give Your Pet More Space? – Part 2

Please see Part I of this article for general consideration regarding cage size.

Canaries, Finches, Parakeets and other Small Birds

As mentioned in Part I of this article, the exercise needs of smaller birds are often overlooked…many are quite high strung, and need comparatively more space than do large, calm birds.

A&E Aviary Cages and Double Stacked Bird Cages are true mansions for smaller birds, and the absolute best choice for those that require flying room.  The provision of flying space is especially important for birds that do not climb about in the manner of parrots, and for those which cannot be given out-of-the-cage exercise time.

The Blue Ribbon Tall Cage  is great for parakeets, lovebirds and other climbers.  It can be provisioned with vine and rope perches  to increase its usable space and create a very unique effect.

A useful new concept – the second floor – is included in the Blue Ribbon Series 1418 Cage.

The additional height is very much appreciated by shyer finches.

Small Parrots

Cockatiels, lovebirds, conures and other small parrots make use of both flying and climbing space…their ultimate housing option is the A&E Flight/Aviary Bird Cage .

Our Victorian Style Cage  opens at the top, allowing your pet access to an open-air perch site.  You might also wish to check out our cages for medium-sized birds (please see below).

Medium Parrots

African gray parrots, Goffin’s cockatoos, Amazons and similarly-sized birds are often tricky to accommodate – not quite as large as macaws, they are still hefty and active, and are cramped in typical parrot cages.  Our wide selection of Victorian, Dometop and Playtop Cages offer a great many options for all of the most commonly-kept parrots.

Large Parrots and Cockatoos

A&E Split Level House Cage, which provides ample height, width and length for even the largest avian pets.  It also allows for cage-top play areas, an important consideration for large, intelligent birds.

For something a bit different, consider the A&E Mahogany Cage  which is both a fine piece of furniture and a functional, spacious cage.

Shama Thrushes, Pekin Robins, Quail and other Exotics

Cages for less-commonly kept birds must be chosen with careful consideration to the species’ lifestyle- toucans need to hop from branch to branch, white-eyes must have flying room, painted quail require ample floor space – and so on.

Cage size and shape is particularly important for birds which tend to be shy and for those that will not be handled, and thus will spend most of their time confined.  Please write in for advice concerning individual species.

Outdoor Aviaries

Our outdoor aviaries are the ultimate in bird homes, allowing your pets the benefits of space, sun and natural light.  Ranging from 3.5×4 to 9×5 feet, there is an outdoor aviary for any bird you may keep.

Playpens and Gyms

A larger cage is the most effective means of providing your bird with additional space.  You can, however, increase exercise options for tame birds by providing them with one of our unique cage top or free-standing play areas.

Further Reading

Please see my article on Outdoor Aviaries for further information on these ultimate bird environments.



Outdoor Aviaries: Their Role in Promoting Breeding and Good Health – Part 2

Please see Part I of this article for basic information on our new line of Outdoor Aviaries.

The influence of natural light, weather cycles and the additional space provided by an Outdoor Aviary often promotes breeding in birds whose reproductive urges have lain dormant for years.

Exercise for Body and Brain

Outdoor aviaries can also serve as exercise areas for birds otherwise confined to cages, and may allow you to keep species which, while they “get by” in typical cages, really do best with more room, at least for part of the year.  Birds which fall into this category include mynahs, larger parrots, toucans, most doves, red-crested cardinals and turacos.

Your pets’ interest in what is going on around them will increase markedly as well – this is good for their well-being, especially as concerns parrots and other highly intelligent birds.

Pheasants, Wild Birds and Other Outdoor Species

Other species, some of which I will highlight in future articles, are nearly impossible to keep unless an outdoor aviary is available.  Included among these are the golden and other pheasants, most quail, fruit doves, ducks and fancy (or “plain”!) chickens.

If, like I, you are a licensed wild bird rehabilitator, an outdoor aviary will greatly expand the list of species with which you might become involved (I tried caring for owls, small herons and gulls indoors…trust me, it’s difficult!).

Along with the fun, there are some special considerations involved in keeping birds outdoors…please write in for details concerning the species in which you are interested.

Further Reading

Outdoor aviaries are indispensible to those who rehabilitate injured native birds, and, where legal, for keeping native birds.  Please see my article Rehabilitating Native Birds  for further details.


Outdoor Aviaries: Their Role in Promoting Breeding, Good Health and New Behaviors


Today I’d like to introduce a new option offered to serious aviculturists by That Pet Place – Outdoor Aviaries .  Early in my zoo career I noticed the vast differences in appearance and behavior between the birds I kept indoors and wild individuals of the same species.  At first I wrote this off to diet and exercise, but I soon noted that birds kept in outdoor exhibits, even for part of the year, were also more colorful and vigorous, and bred more regularly, than did those kept indoors.  You may note that in many of my articles I urge the use of large outdoor enclosures when possible…this strategy has worked well for me in zoos and at home.

Benefits for Your Birds

Our outdoor aviaries allow you to provide your pets with the well-documented benefits of fresh air, sunshine, exposure to natural light and weather cycles and an influx of nutritious insect food.  Available in 5 sizes ranging 3.5 x 4 feet to 9 x 5 feet, they are the ultimate warm weather or permanent homes for a wide variety of species.

Benefits for You

You will reap benefits as well, for your pets will no doubt reveal an astounding range of new behaviors once released into a large, outdoor aviary.  Many of my most memorable observations were garnered in front of outdoor bird exhibits in zoos and my own backyard aviary (which was home, at various times, to injured kestrels, crows, saw-whet owls, mourning doves and those “bird-wannabees”, flying squirrels).

Further Reading

For information on a charming species that makes an ideal introduction to outdoor bird keeping, please see my article on The Care and Natural History of the Chinese Painted or Button Quail.  

Next time I’ll cover some of the many situations in which outdoor aviaries are useful, and mention birds that do especially well in them.  

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